Tyne and Wear HER(15891): West Brunton, rectilinear enclosure, inhumation - Details
West Brunton, rectilinear enclosure, inhumation
Religious Ritual and Funerary
During excavations of the Iron Age site at West Brunton in 2004, an inhumation was found towards the eastern edge of the excavated area, in the space surrounded by non-contemporary roundhouses 4, 5 and 6. The burial was indicated by a shallow impression of reddish grey silty sand 0.8m long and 0.35m wide. All solid bone had dissolved except for fragments of the left-side teeth. These showed that the burial was lying on its left side, its head to the south-east. The ghostly outline suggested a crouched inhumation. The burial was at the bottom of an oval vertically sided pit, 1.4m long, 0.74m wide and 0.3m deep, filled with grey-red sand and mixed clays. The oval pit was a later feature which had disturbed the burial which had been placed in a shallow cut below the bottom of the oval pit. Unfortunately neither the inhumation or the oval pit had any direct relationship with any other feature on the site. In the absence of scientific dating, the burial could have preceded or belonged to any phase of the Iron Age settlement or could even be pre-Iron Age. The inhumation was assessed by A. Caffell. The individual was possibly crouched and orientated SE-NW, with the head to the south-east. Preservation of the remains was very poor due to the acidic soil. Only the crowns of 9 teeth and around 25 fragments of enamel were observed during analysis. The individual was probably an adolescent or young adult, no more than 25 years old. No evidence of dental disease was observed. The acidic soil might have destroyed any calculus (mineralised plaque). Six lower and three upper teeth were identified, all from the left side of the mouth. Due to the lack of the rest of the skeleton the gender or a more accurate age estimate could not be provided.
A. Caffell, 2012, Human Remains in Nick Hodgson, Jonathan McKelvey and Warren Muncaster, 2012, The Iron Age on the Northumberland Coastal Plain - Excavations in advance of development 2002-2010, chapter 8 (The Biological Remains), p 163 and chapter 3 (The Iron Age sites at East Brunton and West Brunton (Newcastle Great Park), p 72